GM Darwin Laylo and IM Paulo Bersamina pulled off emphatic wins to breathe life to the the host country’s sinking campaign even as first-leg winner GM Wang Hao of China stayed on top after five rounds of the Philippine Sports Commission-Puregold International Chess Challenge at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel Thursday night.
Laylo turned back upset-conscious Raja Harshit of India in 51 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense, while Bersamina overcame Catherine Secopito in 53 moves of a Budapest to move in a pack at seventh with three points.
That group included GMs Mark Paragua and Joey Antonio, who halved the point with Russian GM Anton Demchenko in 37 moves of a Trompovsky and eighth pick GM Kirill Stupak of Belarus in 60 moves of a French Defense, respectively.
Wang trounced No. 4 GM Levan Pantsulaia in 41 moves of a razor-sharp Siclian duel to firm his grip of the solo lead with 4.5 points in this nine-round event sponsored by the PSC, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold.
No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus edged IM Abhimanyu Puranik of India in 77 moves of a Ruy Lopez to zoom to solo second with four points.
Pantsulaia slid to a share of third with WGM Lei Tingjie of China, third seed GM Boris Savchenko of Russia and No. 7 GM Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia.
Lei defeated ninth seed GM Eugene Torre in 41 moves of a Queen’s Pawn Torre Attack; Savchenko smashed IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia in 67 moves of a Gruenfeld; and Gagunashvili downed IM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam in 90 moves of a Nimzo-Indian showdown.